Mark Sycamore Masterclass at TENZ conference


During October New Zealand’s Technology Educators (which includes Food Technology and Home Economic teachers) held a conference in Christchurch and hosted an afternoon masterclass with Chef, Mark Sycamore, who is currently a tutor at Ara Institute of Canterbury.  

A multi award winning chef, Mark won the Gordon Ramsay Scholarship in New Zealand and came third in the World final in London. In 2016 he represented NZ in the World  Global Chef competition in Greece, and competed in the NZ Chefs Culinary Olympic Team in Germany where the team won silver. He is a current member of the NZ Chefs National Team. Mark has previously worked at Tequila Mockingbird, Christchurch, Blanket Bay Lodge, Glenorchy and Hotel De Brett, Auckland.

Mark designed two recipes for the masterclass featuring cucumber and using a selection of New Zealand fresh vegetables.  We share his recipes here:

 Asian style beef salad with cucumber vermicelli

IMG 0941Simple Asian style salad in pungent dressing that can be served simply in Bao Buns for a quick snack or presented in a more refined way using cucumber ribbons to form a ‘spring roll’.

 Serves 4

  • 300g beef fillet (any cut suitable for grilling can be substituted)
  • 4 x bao buns
  • ½ telegraph cucumber, cut into noodles, ribbons or thin slices
  • 50g mesclun lettuce
  • 10g coriander, roughly chopped
  • 10g Vietnamese mint, leaves picked
  • 20g peanuts, toasted and crushed
  • 50g beansprouts
  • 100g tomatoes, de seeded and sliced
  • 50mls vegetable oil for cooking
  • to taste salt and pepper 
  • 100mls sweet chilli sauce for garnish

NB: Before cooking the beef ensure you have prepared the dressing.

Pre heat a grill or sauté pan until hot. Cut the beef into 4 even sized steaks. Season well with salt and pepper. Brush lightly with oil. Sear for 2 minutes on each side until steak is cooked to medium rare (more if you prefer). Remove the steak from the grill and place into a tray with the dressing. Leave in the fridge to marinate for at least 30 minutes or up to a few hours.

Prepare the salad ingredients such as the beansprouts, cucumber, tomatoes, herbs and mesclun.

Pre heat a steamer and place Bao buns inside for 7 minutes or follow instructions on the packet.

Remove beef from the dressing and slice into thin strips.  Add the beef strips back to the dressing along with the prepared salad items and the peanuts.

Split the cooked Bao buns and generously fill with the beef and cucumber salad. Serve with the sweet chilli sauce on the side.

Thai dressing

  • 1x spring onion, chopped
  • 1x lemon grass stick, finely chopped
  • 5g coriander leaf, chopped
  • 5g mint leaf, chopped
  • 25mls fish sauce
  • 10mls sweet chilli sauce
  • 60mls lime juice
  • 25g white sugar

Stir together all ingredients until well combined and set aside until required.


Orange, Ginger and Sesame Roasted Kumara

IMG 0940

  • 2x assorted kumara
  • 50mls orange juice
  • 5g ginger, microplaned
  • 1Tbsp honey
  • 1tsp sesame seeds, black and white
  • 20mls olive oil
  • Pinch salt
  • to taste chopped mint

Wash kumara well and cut into wedges or slices (peel if preferred). Place onto a baking sheet lined with greaseproof paper.  Mix together the orange juice, ginger, honey, sesame seeds, olive oil and salt. Pour over kumara and roast in a hot oven until tender and browned. Scatter over chopped mint of using. 

** For an alternative presentation, take 1 cucumber and cut into long thin strips. Arrange the strips overlapping on your chopping board to form a mat. Arrange the beef filling down the centre and roll up like you would sushi. Cut into desired portion sizes and arrange neatly on a plate using various garnishes such as chilli sauce, peanuts, herbs and crispy shallots.


Waffle Sandwiches with smoked chicken and cucumber pickles

IMG 0944Gluten free and vegan waffles made from a selection of roasted root vegetables and chickpea flour presented as mini sandwiches (sliders) with quick cucumber pickles.

Serves 4


  • 300mls almond Milk
  • 400g roasted Vegetable, crushed
  • ¾ cup polenta
  • ½ cup chickpea flour (or gluten free flour premix)
  • 1 ½ tsp baking powder
  • To taste finely chopped onion
  • To taste finely chopped garlic 
  • ½ tsp chopped thyme
  • 1tsp salt

Optional - add 2 egg yolks into the base and whip 2 egg whites to fold through mixture at the end to make lighter.

Sieve all the dry ingredients into a bowl. Mix together the roasted veg and almond milk (plus egg yolk if using). Combine the wet and dry ingredients and beat until well combined.  Fold in the egg white if using.  Leave the mixture for 10 minutes whilst the waffle iron heats up.  Cook waffles as per manufacturer’s instructions and set aside when cooked.

 To assemble sandwiches:

Cut the waffles into quarters and use to create sandwiches with 1 tablespoon of chicken filling, chilli jam, rocket leaves and pickled cucumbers. Secure with a skewer if required.         

Note: Warm through a hot oven for 5 minutes just before serving

 Chicken Filling:

  • 200g smoked chicken breast (or roast chicken)
  • 100g spring onions, finely chopped
  • 10g basil, chopped
  • 20g sun dried tomatoes, finely chopped
  • 30g Aioli
  • 80g mozzarella (if serving cold use feta as a substitute
  • To taste salt and pepper

Roughly chop the smoked chicken and mix with all other ingredients. Check the seasoning and adjust if required.  Keep chilled until required.


  • 1 cup baby spinach or rocket
  • 100g chilli jam or your favourite chutney
  • 200g pickled cucumbers
  • 1x spring onion tops, finely sliced on the angle.

 Quick Pickled Cucumber Salad:

  • 1x short cucumber
  • 25mls rice wine vinegar
  • 5g flaky salt
  • Pinch tumeric
  • pinch sugar
  • 5g dill, chopped

Cut the cucumbers down the centre and then into quarters. Remove the seeds and cut into 5mm thick slices on the bias, place into a non-reactive bowl. Mix together the remaining ingredients and stir until the sugar and salt has dissolved. Pour over the cucumbers and place in the fridge until required.